Zespri chairman Peter McBride has announced his retirement and will step down in February.

He has chaired the Board of Zespri since 2013 and would also retire as a director at the company's next Annual Meeting in July 2019.

Deputy chairman Bruce Cameron will take over the reins and was a long-time kiwifruit grower who had been a director since 2010.

McBride had served as chairman during a period of change and expansion.

That included the industry's return to growth following the impact of Psa and overseeing a premium brand-led strategy and the expansion of Zespri SunGold to meet burgeoning demand in the markets.


He had also seen the 55 per cent growth average per hectare returns across all kiwifruit varieties and the share price go from 50 cents in March 2013 to over $8.00 a share.

''It has been a privilege serving an industry that has shown strength through its co-operative spirit,'' McBride said.

"Our kiwifruit industry has stepped through a number of challenges but we have demonstrated time and time again the cohesiveness of our industry and our ability to act in its common interest. I have been in a fortunate position to see through significant changes and as a kiwifruit grower I am looking forward to Zespri's continued success as it transforms to serve more and more customers around the world."

Zespri director Jonathan Mason said McBride had been an outstanding leader in the kiwifruit industry.

''Among his achievements as both Chairman and director was his leadership in supporting the industry's recovery from the serious challenge of Psa – communicating and listening to growers and developing the response. He then saw through the execution of our product and market strategy, in response to Psa, with the expansion of SunGold and strong sustainable performance for Green contributing to record returns for the industry.''

''He leaves behind a strong legacy."